Dr Kurt Haas image

Dr Kurt Haas

Primary Investigator

  • Post Doctoral Fellowship in Developmental Neuroscience - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY
  • PhD Neuroscience - Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, NY
  • BSc Neurobiology & Behavior - Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

In the Haas Lab we directly image neuron growth within the intact and awake embryonic brain. We image both rapid growth dynamics over seconds to minutes, and long term changes over days, to investigate mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal neuronal development.

Warren Meyers

Lab Technician

  • MSc Reproductive & Developmental Sciences - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
  • BSc Physiology (Honours) - University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

Warren joined the lab in 2016 after completing his Master's degree under Dr. Geoffrey Hammond at UBC. As a specialist in biochemistry and cell biology, his main role in the Haas Lab is to develop high throughput tools and cell line-based screening platforms to characterize gene variants associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Warren is also part of our core team involved in the selection and prioritization of ASD-associated gene variants for the Pacific Autism Research Group.

604-827-5840 (lab)

Wun Chey Sin

Research Associate

  • Ph.D Molecular Neuroscience - University of London, UK

WC Sin did her postdoctoral training at the Institute of Molecular & Cell Biology in Singapore and at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. She spent a few years in a New York biotechnology company that specializes in cancer gene discovery before continuing her research at UBC, focusing on the role of inflammation in brain cancer development. She is involved in the functional characterization of autism associated gene variants in the lab since October 2017.

Tristan Dellazizzo Toth

Doctoral Student

  • MSc Cell Biology - McGill University, Montreal, QC
  • BSc Human Biology & Psychology - University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Tristan investigates how growing neurons in developing vertebrate brains integrate synaptic input and encode information in an action potential output, and how these integration and encoding properties change with experience across the entire dendritic arbor. To be able to record the different patterns of activity across the entire 3D space of neuron, he employs a verity of genetically encoded biosensors and images individual neurons in Xenopus tadpoles in vivo using a custom built acousto-optics based random-access two-photon laser-scanning microscope system.

Peter Hogg

Doctoral Student

  • BSc Hons Cell and Developmental Biology - Trinity Western University, Langley BC

Peter uses Xenopus laevis tadpoles to study early neuronal development, dendritic arborization, and synaptogenesis. His experimental work makes use of in vivo two-photon imaging to collect structural data of single neurons during development, as well as population calcium dynamics. Peter has an interest in the application of bioimage analysis and machine learning to investigate neuronal development.

Past Staff Members

Sina Safabakhsh

Lab Technician

  • BSc Combined Major in Sciences - UBC, Vancouver BC

Sina works on two major projects. The first project is to study the effects of Early-Life Seizures (ELSs) on the developing brain, which largely involves immunohistochemistry, 2-photon and confocal imaging, and associated analysis. The second project is a high-throughput study of the effects of genetic mutations associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) on protein structure and function. This project involves the growth, maintenance, and genetic manipulation of large-scale cell culture assays.

Alessandro Cau

Lab Technician

  • BSc Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Alessandro joined the lab as an undergraduate in 2015 and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree following the completion of his Honours Thesis in 2017. For his thesis, he investigated the effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)-associated gene variants on activity-dependent neuronal growth in Xenopus laevis tadpoles. Currently, Alessandro is involved in a few different projects that include conducting high-throughput assays to test ASD-associated gene variants as well as studying the effects of early life seizures on synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity in the developing brain.

Patrick Coleman

Masters Student

  • BA, Cognitive Systems - UBC, Vancouver, BC
  • BSc, Mathematics & Computer Science - University of Adelaide, SA, Australia

Pat works on Image and Signal processing techniques for the collection and analysis of in-vivo neuronal signals. His work allows analysis of 5D signal across an entire dendritic arbors, combining 3D morphology with structural changes over time, as well as fluorescent indicator responses to stimuli. This helps in understanding dendritic informational processing, by establishing links between the structural and functional changes.

Dr Kelly Sakaki Image

Dr Kelly Sakaki

PostDoctoral Fellow, Engineer

  • PhD Engineering Science – Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
  • MASc Mechanical Engineering – University of Victoria, Victoria, BC
  • BEng Computer Engineering - University of Victoria, Victoria, BC
  • Dip. TET – Northern Alberta Institute of Engineering, Edmonton, AB

Kel is currently a PDF/Engineer at the D.M. Centre for Brain Health. Kel develops automated, single-cell analysis and manipulation instrumentation including: random access and conventional two-photon microscopy laser scanning microscopes; micro-manipulation robotics; electrode-based, analog and digital devices and software system controllers.
Kel is currently developing systems and methods to investigate cell structural/function in neural circuits working in Prof. Kurt Haas's Lab.

Fabian Meili MSc

Fabian Meili, MSc

Lab Technician, Lab Manager

  • MSc Molecular Biology & Biochemistry - Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC
  • BSc Molecular Biology & Biochemistry - Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC

Fabian joined the lab in early 2016 as both Lab Manager and Research Technician. He was tasked with creating several hundred constructs of ASD Gene Variants in a variety of expression clones for UBC's ASD collaboration, as well as various cloning projects for the Haas Lab. He is designing and performing all of the flow cytometry-based high-throughput screening for various functional and biochemical features of ASD-associated gene variants. As Lab Manager, he is also in charge of everything related to lab safety and new Haas Lab member orientations, as well as teaching new Undergraduates joining the lab to learn molecular biology techniques.

(604) 827-5840

Dong Hwan Kim

Dong Hwan Kim (DK)

Doctoral Student

  • MEng Biomedical Engineering - Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • BEng Electrical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering - Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

DK is currently a PhD student in the Haas Lab. DK is investigating how seizures alter dendritogenesis and synaptogenesis by directly imaging developing neurons during experimentally induced seizures within the intact and awake brain.

Dr Janaina Brusco

Dr Janaina Brusco

PostDoctoral Fellow, Former Member

  • PhD Neuroscience - University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • BSc Biomedicine - Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre, Brazil

Jana investigates molecular pathways for synaptic plasticity and metaplasticity during brain development. Jana uses a broad range of molecular and imaging techniques to show that mitochondria are not just important for energy production, but are key organelles that control the availability of synaptic proteins at post-synaptic terminals, thus modulating plasticity (Brusco and Haas, 2015)

Kathryn Post Profile Image

Kathryn Post

Doctoral Student

  • BA Neuroscience - Boston University, Boston, MA

Kathryn investigates Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) associated genes and gene variants. Specifically she is interested in the effect of ASD-associated variants on dendritogenesis in young, developing neurons. Using two-photon microscopy she investigates the development of phase 2 and 3 optic tectal neurons expressing ASD-gene variants. She is also interested in functionally characterizing all identified gene variants using genetic interactions determined through Synthetic Dosage Lethality (SDL) screens in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.